Amid financial crisis, Chandigarh admn to spend ₹26 lakh on repair of IAS officer’s house
The department is also spending Rs 7 lakh on a government house in Sector 28 and Rs 5.5 lakh on another one in Sector 33Updated: Aug 10, 2020 23:50 IST
Even as the UT administration is cutting down on development works because of financial constraints, it is splurging on renovation and reconstruction of government houses.
Last week, it had floated a tender worth Rs 26 lakh for the renovation of a house in Sector 16. The house, which was recently allotted to a senior Indian Administrative Officer (IAS) of Punjab cadre, was previously occupied by a Haryana cadre officer.
An engineering department official, requesting anonymity, said, “In addition to repairs, the department is constructing a multipurpose room and additional toilets for the house (number 514). Some parts are being demolished and new designs are also being brought in. While around Rs 12 lakh will be spent on the repairs, another Rs 14 lakh will be used for the new additions to the building.”
The department is also spending Rs 7 lakh on a government house in Sector 28 and Rs 5.5 lakh on another one in Sector 33. The one in Sector 28 is a Type-V house, which was recently allotted to an executive engineer working in the UT electricity department.
“This is not an exhaustive list of the UT engineering department’s spending on renovation and repairs of government houses. In the past few months, it has floated several such tenders even though austerity is the need of the time,” said the engineering department official.
In the first two months of the lockdown, necessitated by the Covid-19 outbreak in March, the UT administration had lost a whopping ₹342 crore in tax collections. In view of this, the administration had issued austerity instructions, allowing only completion of pending projects. It had stated that new projects can be taken up only if approved by the administration as priority. The engineering department has also been asked to clear pending dues before making payments for new works, subject to availability of funds during the quarter.
Justifying the spending on renovation, UT chief engineer Mukesh Anand said, “In some houses, for instance, the one in Sector 16, major renovations are taking place after nearly a decade. The house also required a major upgrade in design and facilities in tune with the time. All these changes are being undertaken after approval of the UT urban planning department.”
IAS officer Alok Shekhar, who has been allotted the house in Sector 16, said, “The house has to be prepared for me to live in it. It is not livable. I don’t know what they (UT) are doing. I have no idea about the details.”